The cricketing side of Harold Pinter

December 29th, 2008 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 29 (IANS) If Samuel Beckett is the only Nobel winner to appear in cricket almanac Wisden, then Harold Pinter is surely the only Nobel winner with a cricket web page in his name. Pinter, who died at 78 on Christmas eve, was a regular in the Gaieties Cricket Club squad, which is made up largely but not exclusively of theatrical folk. Ironically, his name links the cricket club on the net.

The Times Literary Supplement (TLS) poetry editor and fast-medium bowler M.O. Imlah has also featured in the Gaieties line-up, and Pinter returned the compliment by opening the batting for the TLS in the mid-1980s.

The Independent reported that a visit to Pinter’s site is a worthy homage to the Gaieties Cricket Club’s opening bat and unearths his obituary of Somerset’s Arthur Wellard. Wellard was the first cricketer to hit five sixes in an over (pre-Sobers) and Pinter’s pen carves out the gruff delivery of the village blacksmith’s anarchic anecdotes.

The Times, London, also reported that Pinter relished the quick stuff early on and recalled a memorable innings when Pinter pulled a muscle and required a runner.

Pinter’s study at home in West London is said to contain a set of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac dating back to its beginnings in 1864. His hero is the great English batsman Len Hutton.

“When I feel exhausted with it all and the world’s sitting heavily on my head, I pick up a Wisden and read about Len Hutton’s thirty-seven in twenty-four minutes in Sydney in 1946,” he said recently.

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